Realistic expectation of possible wages?

First, I'm sure this topic has been discussed a bunch but I wasn't sure where to look in the forum.

For those who don't mind sharing..what are your typical wages?
and what type of shops are you doing and about how many a day, and any tips for a newer shopper..not exactly a complete newbie , but am new to this site and most of the msc's listed here..have already signed up for a bunch..

So,I'm just curious, because I came across a thread where the poster stated she made over 500 dollars in one day and a couple of other posters chimed in and stayed they also were making about that much per any input on how I can work smarter..keep in mind I work Monday through Friday so I do my shops on the weekend...and I typically work 4 to 8 shops
and all together I make about 50 to 150 total over the weekend...just wondering if my range is the norm or is there something I can tweak to make more?

Shopping Idaho and Oregon/Idaho border region.

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

There isn’t really a normal or average income for a shopper. Many of us have had days where we earn $500 or more in fees, but those aren’t regular occurrences. A lot depends on your area, what’s available and how many shoppers are around. Some shoppers negotiate higher bonuses for hard to complete jobs with companies they have a long and excellent history with.
Some high paying shops also require a significant outlay of money, like high-end hotel and resorts. You need to be able to afford the costs and be okay waiting for reimbursement.
Looking beyond your local area also helps to find shops that might be bonused. Sometimes you find clusters of shops that are worth the time driving there and back.
Like TroyHawkins said, there isn't a "norm". It depends on what the shopper is willing to put in and what is available in your area - so many variables! Plus, many shops are cyclical, seasonal, etc. I happen to choose shops more for the experience or merchandise, vs. the payout. So, I'm passing over the $30 survey on a new pilates place and taking the $60 reimbursement for the microbrew restaurant.
Many here do Video which pays more, so different for everyone, set your own pace and goals, we all shop for different reasons, so lumping us doesn't work. The high fee's go to rural routes, I'm sure big cities have many shoppers, therefore keeping fee's down.
Adding: those who do this full time are more motivated to work and take jobs in "out of the way places", as fee's are higher. Weekend work is a hobby, being Independent Contractors we can do it all, or as little as we please,
which brought me into this field. Don't quit your day job.

With so many woman recently elected, let's integrate two aspects of feminine power/ gentle compassion with
fierce warrior........

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/2018 03:08PM by Irene_L.A..
It would be easier to ask for the typical weather than a typical schedule or income. In addition to "location, location, location," we could add "availability, availability, availability."

Based on your limits it is unlikely you will be seeing $500 days very often, if at all. Video is one of the higher paying segments of the industry and most video shops still need to be performed during normal business hours. I tend to make a lot on targeted shops. Again, they often cannot be done on a weekend and even if the weekend is allowed, it would be difficult for you to coordinate the target's schedule if your only availability is Saturday or Sunday.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I'm one of the posters who talked about making over $500 in a day. Please understand that one day on the road is preceded by a day or more of scheduling to get the shops, and another day afterward to complete the reports (I don't use apps, so I have to do reports once I'm off the road, whether in a hotel room or back at home). And then a day of rest. Because 17 hours on the road in one day is EXHAUSTING. I'm old, so I rarely am on the road more than 10 days a month, mostly because it is purely exhausting.

And please be aware, it's not "wages". It is self-employment income, for which you will receive 1099's at the end of the year, and on which you must pay social security and income taxes.
Taking shops on the way to or from your 9-5 will add some. Doing weekend routes will/can add a LOT.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Just wanted to thank everyone for the is appreciated. .My curiosity was piqued,so that is why I asked.

Shopping Idaho and Oregon/Idaho border region.
Oh but you just made me so happy by spelling "piqued" correctly. I've seen so many forum members spell it as "peaked", LOL.
dawn, how much you make depends on you and how much work you are willing to put into mystery shopping. When I was shopping full time, I rarely worked weekends, I shopped in a 20 mile radius from home, and I rarely did shops that required an outlay of cash. Your goals and requirements may be very different.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
Yes. My twenty mile radius is a yawner. Most of it is ag land without shops. There are a few easy/basic shops here. There is nothing remarkable about the nearby shops. It is possible to travel to more and different shops, including decent and nice lodging. The more interesting work experiences are located more than one hundred miles from home.

For a few years, I sacrificed my few free nights and days for this job. I ventured farther and farther from home to do more and more interesting work. While I was having fun and seeing what remained of the wild spaces between work sites, nothing was being accomplished at home. So I stopped most of the travel. I do most of my working and playing locally. Life is better now.


The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. - Terry Pratchett
What @ceasesmith said. There are no "wages" in this business. This is your business. The only way to build it is to build relationship0s with your customers. And I mean really build them. Get to know them, Send them an e-card on a holiday, or a thank you note after a good assignment. Create a relationship. Let them know you appreciate bonused gigs when you get them, and do them well. You'll never make over minimum wage just surfing the job boards.

proudly shopping in the D.
I do routes. My biggest was 14k over 2 months/22k miles and ive had many 7k single months. It all depends on what you want to do and are willing to do.

Traveling helps as does doing video.

CEO The Mystery Shoppers Depot
US Wide route shopper with 10k+ shops completed over 47 states and two countries.
Airbnb host based in Chicago and 10% discount if you mention this forum
You received several replies that were both informative and concise. I, as a situational shopper, only work when the money is acceptable OR a need/desire exists. My highs and lows are:

Single day: $917
Lowest month: $5 and lunch

I also compliment both your correct usage and spelling of piqued.
Very, very few shoppers receive wages from shopping. It is quite unusual to find a n MSC which employs shoppers. 99.9% of shopping are done by independent contractors. Contractors charge fees to their customers. Contractors don't receive wages.
I did $360 before lunch today. I have another $150 scheduled for this afternoon. It is a total of seven shops - six of which are video and two of which had travel bonuses. (I am 180 miles from home.) I might pick up something else this evening, but I want to see how tired I am. I hope to do another $300 tomorrow, but am still putting things together. I have a similar two-day spread 200 miles from home (in a different direction) at the end of the week. I haven't added it up yet, but it includes at least eight video shops.

No, I can't do this every day. I am off work this month, which gives me time to do such routes. Typically, I try to do one shop each day on my way home from work. I'll then spend most Saturdays on routes and try to bring in about $300. Sometimes, I only get half-a-day on a Saturday. Sometimes the bonuses make it a very happy day. As for $500 days... I've had four or five - all in the last several months. I've had quite a few $400 days. I've had one that was about $800. All of the "big" days have involved long drives and end-of-month bonuses. Most have involved video.

I have had months where I have hit $4,000. However, because I don't do this full time, aside from a couple months each summer, I don't hit that mark very often...

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Some assignments pay a wage. I am thinking of some demos. The starting hourly pay is not bad. It is not comparable to hundreds of dollars that some mystery shoppers have reported, and it involves only the cost of transportation. This may matter in some people's computations. Over time, this hourly wage increases. Over the long haul, the wage can double or more. One can be a contractor and work for contracted wage.

The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. - Terry Pratchett
@Shop-et-al wrote:

Some assignments pay a wage. I am thinking of some demos.

Neither demonstrations nor merchandising are mystery shopping even if some people who are mystery shoppers also do merchandising and demonstrations.
Based on the OP's available time after working a full-time job, working smart at mystery shopping will allow her a higher hourly income and more flexibility than working demos all day Saturday and Sunday.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
This is a great question. For those that report income to IRS (I don't since my yearly income (fees paid for shopping) are below 500 as I do mostly reimbursement shops) the average salary is 31,000 a year. Since this is self-employment income, I think you can deduct mileage and any required purchases. If the shop's fee is $50, but you have to spend $30, then you pay income taxes on that $20. I think. I hate accounting.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/2018 05:24AM by rothers27.
ANY net MS income must, by law, be reported.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Good discussion, especially defining wages versus income. Two shoppers can have the same gross income yet different net income. No one here earns an average of $500 a day, that would equal over $180,000 a year.

Very few shoppers earn an average income comparable to someone working a full time job that pays a wage/commission. When we process our tax returns, we are "penalized" for all the federal and state requirements that most of us do not voluntarily contribute too during the year.

Very few shoppers have set up the necessary payroll process that a creditor would accept as an actual proof of income.

I rely on my full time job for reliable and provable wages. I report my mystery shopping income/expenses on my tax returns as personal business. I net about a $1,000 a year in personal income after adjustments. I write off over double that against reimbursements (over $3k gross) plus write off certain expenses.

FREE Job listing sites; []; []; [] - Sassie; [] - Various links; [] -MSPA Members; link at bottom of forum page to their extensive list of companies
For those doing $500 a day can you post a same day, with wages and type of shop?

My biggest day is $250, but on average I do about $1000/month mostly doing evenings after my real job, or over lunch since there is a ton around my office - they pay less but can do a quick $20- $40 over lunch.
ddp, I didn't really understand your question. But I am doing a route today of 7 gas stations at $90 each (average). It will be a long and tiring day.
I would not assume what is best or even good for the OP because I went from scant to more to still more to so damn much to too damn much of this biz and back to occasional work in this industry.

I have a daily job for six and sometimes seven days every week. This is the foundation for everything else.

For three months of the year, I have one completely free night that I could use for hotel shops or other ms travel. Do I want to fill that time with work? I no longer want to do that every week. Because there are so few shops near home, I would have to travel and work for the free part of Sunday and all of Monday in order to earn substantial ms income. Am I willing to do that? I no longer want to do that week after week after week. I will do this occasionally because once in awhile, it is useful to be near personal fave places and earn some money. But I will never, ever, as long as I live do it frequently or often. I like what I do at home. It is edifying, costs little to nothing, and usually is more interesting than any shops that I could find to do. Most important? When I spread out the work evenly, I can accomplish everything at home and live in a flowing, calm way. I did not like the busyness of so much shopping and jam-packed days and I will not repeat that. I have learned my lesson. Kudos to people who love that and make it work for them. If I were you, I would love it, too. smiling smiley

The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. - Terry Pratchett
I don't like being far from home myself, and though I can manage to get 10-15 shops done in a day, I pick shops very close to home and I generally work about 4-6 hours a day. I am lucky to have shops close to my house. I especially enjoy grocery shops and take out food, but the convenience stores and post offices are my main gigs.

Edited to add merchandising and product demos for a nutritional company. The demos for the nutritional company are actually big bucks and pay way more than the average demo jobs, BTW.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/2018 10:16PM by JASFLALMT.
I'm actually a weirdo who relieves stress by driving so I don't usually mind venturing out a couple hours away from where I live to complete a few shops...I will start adding a couple of shops after my workday as well..again thanks for the insight..and I had no idea you could write off reimbursements

Shopping Idaho and Oregon/Idaho border region.
Yes, reimbursements do not count as income. Because of this, choosing reimbursements that are considered “same as cash” is a strategy that many shoppers use to add nontaxable value to their lives. What these are vary from shopper to shopper, but most agree that groceries and gas usually qualify, as well as anything we would normally purchase out pocket if we weren’t shopping.

Mileage is also deductible, so if you like to drive to out of the way places, you can use this to your advantage, tax wise.

One thing I didn’t realize out of the gate is that we can negotiate for higher fees. It never hurts to ask, and just making a phone call or sending an email can yield significantly higher income.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/2018 05:11PM by Stephanieteaches.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login